Our History

The AAHC, Inc. Museum is a one and one-half story bungalow built by George W. and Gertrude Mahin in 1914. George was a civic leader as well as a businessman. He was a partner with his father in a barbershop downtown, and also built the first moving picture theater in the area. He also operated a first class dining facility across from his home.

The Mahins and their son, George E. (1914-2001), who was born a few months after they moved into the new house, lived here until moving to Louisville in 1926. It was there that George W. organized and built the New Horizon Missionary Baptist Church. When the Mahins moved to Louisville, the house was purchased by Hughes and Minnie Neely.

After being wounded in World War II, Hughes operated a grocery store in the Odd Fellows Hall, and Minnie was a skilled seamstress. Upon their deaths, the house then went to their daughter Beatrice Neely. After she died in 1991, the property was purchased in 1994 to become the African American Heritage Center. The structure lies in the heart of the second historic African American settlement in Franklin.

The Harristown neighborhood was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. A part of the project was funded by the Franklin-Simpson Renaissance, Inc. Today, the African American Heritage Center, Inc. is a state and nation-wide tourist destination and a rich source of historical and genealogical information, helping tourists and others learn about the past and better prepare for the future.